Beard Transplants


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    Beard transplants are riding a wave of popularity. It’s a sudden and explosive thing! Look at this chart I got from Google Trends. It shows that searches for beard transplants started a few years ago, and went viral January of 2014.

    A photo of beard transplant popularity.

    Dr. Alan Bauman

    I used to not think highly of beard transplants, but I have changed my mind. People get beard implants for any number of reasons, including covering up scars or filling in a bald patch. I wanted to educate myself a bit more, so I approached Dr. Alan J. Bauman of the Bauman Medical Group, who specializes in hair restoration.

    He graciously consented to an interview, and gave us some photos of his beard transplants. Read on to learn more about how beard transplants work, including how much they cost.

    Interview with Dr. Bauman

    Brandon: How many beard transplants have you personally performed?

    Dr. Bauman: I’ve performed hundreds of transplants to and from beards over my 17-year career.

    Brandon: What age of men are most interested in beard transplants?

    Dr. Bauman: There is no one specific age.  I’ve seen ages 25 to 65.

    Brandon: Could you summarize how the procedure works in a few sentences?

    Dr. Bauman: During a beard hair transplant, (like a scalp hair or eyebrow transplant), we harvest hair follicles from the back of the scalp and implant them into the facial hair areas: mustache, goatee, beard, or side-burn areas. Hair follicles are individually harvested using NeoGraft FUE, which is a minimally-invasive method, so there’s no linear scar in the scalp.

    Photo of a man having undergone a beard transplant.
    Click to enlarge – Photo of harvesting area, left side, 24-hours after the procedure was performed. Beard hair was taken from the under-beard, which grew in thick, to thicken up a patchier area. Photo by Alan Bauman. Used with permission.

    Brandon: Do you find most men need a full beard transplant, or just a few small patches filled in?

    Dr. Bauman: It varies. Most men need small “touchups” to fill in a gap or scar; others are looking to significantly modify an existing beard.

    Brandon: What parts of the body make good donor areas for beard transplants?

    Dr. Bauman: We only take donor follicles from the scalp.

    Brandon: Does the follicle you remove from the donor area ever grow back there?

    Dr. Bauman: Never. The hair transplant process always permanently redistributes the follicles. “Follicles are neither created nor destroyed” in the process, as we often say.

    Click to enlarge - Photo harvesting area, 24-hours after the procedure was performed. Beard hair was taken from the under-beard, which grew in thick, to thicken up a patchier area. Photo by Alan Bauman. Used with permission.
    Click to enlarge – Photo of harvesting area, right side, 24-hours after the procedure was performed. Beard hair was taken from the under-beard, which grew in thick, to thicken up a patchier area. Photo by Alan Bauman. Used with permission.

    Brandon: Is the procedure painful? What is the recuperation time like?

    Dr. Bauman: Modern beard hair transplants are performed painlessly using local anesthesia.  90% of patients do not need any pain medications after the operation. Cosmetic healing takes about a week.

    Brandon: How long after the procedure should a man expect to find the transplanted follicles growing new hair?

    Dr. Bauman: It takes about a week to heal from the procedure. It takes 6 to 12 weeks for hair to start to grow. Half of the transplanted follicles have visible growth after 6 months. The rest fill in after a year.

    Brandon: What percentage of the transplanted follicles tend to successfully grow new hair?

    Dr. Bauman: 99% of the transplanted grafts grow hair—this is an improvement from the 80s and 90s, which is due to the way we have learned to take care of the grafts during the transplantation process (like with PRP platelet rich plasma, etc.).

    Brandon: How much does a typical beard transplant cost? Are there different pricing packages?

    Dr. Bauman: It costs $10 per follicle graft. Most cases include 500 to 1000 grafts (which makes the procedures between $5,000 and $10,000).

    Image of a beard transplant healing.
    Click to enlarge – This is a comparison of the transplant healing process. The left image is the donor area 24 hours after follicle extraction. The right is the same donor area after healing for one week. Photo by Alan Bauman. Used with permission.

    Brandon: Tell me about the men that come to you for help. What are their reasons for having a beard transplant?

    Dr. Bauman: Some ethnic groups (Asians, for example) have sparse beards, and these men are looking for a fuller beard. Latinos value their mustache as a sign of masculinity, so they come in to get thicker mustaches. Others are looking to modify the shape of their facial hair, like thicken the width of their sideburns for example.  Still others are looking to vertically “connect” the top and bottom areas of the goatee. Sideburns can often get distorted when men have facelifts, so sideburn restoration is a common request from the “Palm Beach” set.

    Brandon: Are there any products men can use, whether over the counter or by prescription, to encourage new beard growth, or to help beards grow thicker, longer, or faster?

    Dr. Bauman: You can enhance hair growth with over-the-counter supplements like Biotin, Viviscal, and BaumanMD Hair Vitamin Complex. Laser therapy can also be used on your beard for increased quality.  Even minoxidil treatments like prescription Formula 82M can be used on the beard area.

    Brandon: Can beard growth be hindered by a person’s diet, or by stress, or other external factors?

    Dr. Bauman: Absolutely.  We’ve seen areas of alopecia occur in people with allergies or high stress.  And, of course, you need good nutrition to grow good quality hair. Period. Hair follicles are highly metabolic and therefore sensitive to changes in nutrition.

    Also, here’s a little known fact: we can harvest beard hair follicles to replace scalp hair and cover scars on the scalp.

    Brandon: What is your opinion of beard growth vitamins, like Vitabeard. Is the science behind them sound?

    Dr. Bauman: I’m not familiar with that brand.  However, good nutrition is critical for hair growth.  We’ve certainly seen increased body hair quality and quantity with some treatments. You can even enhance beard (or body hair) using minoxidil.

    Conclusion

    Beard transplants are a fascinating new science. I, for one, am glad that the procedure has advanced to the point where scarring is minimal to non-existent, and that the recovery is so quick. I’d like to thank Dr. Bauman for participating in this interview. If you’d like to contact Dr. Bauman, email him at doctorb@baumanmedical.com, and visit this page to request a beard transplant consultation. You can learn more about his practice at www.baumanmedical.com.

    What are your thoughts on beard implants, now that you’ve heard from a professional? Share your thoughts in the comments, below.



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    About the Author

    Brandon M. Dennis
    Greetings, fellow beardsmen! I'm a beard health expert and journalist working out of Seattle, Washington. I'm also an author, marketer, and story-teller. Read my swashbuckling fantasy sea adventure novel, The Tale of Cloran Hastings, and click my name to learn more about me. Enjoy the site!
    Brandon M. Dennis

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    Comments

    1. Id take a patchy beard over a fake any day myfriend

    2. Starting whatever beard that I can, even at 41 there are stubborn spots but will take what I can. (As long as it’s close to symmetrical.) Would love a full beard like Oxhorn/Brandon but most likely will be chops mustache/goatee, and be proud of MY facial hair.
      As far as fake beards, to each their own but unless there is some serious impairment to any facial hair, m’thinks it would fail to be Classy.

    3. Jarl Alfredsson says:

      It looks gruesome! And at the end results it looks like he has acne everywhere. I’m convinced.

      Fan since Inventing Swear Words 1 by the way, good luck in the future, Oxhorn!

    4. Does the BeardGrowthSpray really work??

    5. I didn’t know it existed. Funny thing is how people often want something else than than they have. I keep shaving that part of my beard, others want to grow that part.

    6. Anthony Neer says:

      I have an odd, small bald spot under my chin. And the thought of a beard transplant sounded interesting. But after seeing what is done, and your encouraging words. I’ve decided I’ll just grow my beard long around the spot.

      • Do what you gotta do my friend!

      • Old post, but…

        I have always wanted to grow a beard but have two little, tiny bald spots. Well, I never got the chance to grow a beard until the last few years, so I grew out a fat beard for a year. Even though I had probably 97% coverage and a fat, black beard, you could always see the gaps from the side because they are in a thin line on both of my cheeks. My facial hair is “curly-q”, so even a 1.5 inch-long beard sticks tight to my face and reveals the gaps.

        I’m probably going to do the follicle transplant, as it wouldn’t require more than 40-50 in total. Sure it costs good money, but my hair is so thick that to keep a sharp razor around for a daily shave, I spend about $20/month on blades. Who knows how much on aftershaves and therapeutic shave creams to prevent ingrown hairs and such. And I hate shaving so much….. And I can afford it.

        If you want to have a beard to be proud of, I say try it out. Some people talk trash about how it’s fake or whatever, but to fix a few small gaps, it’s nothing to be ashamed of. An entire beard transplant….perhaps that’s a bit much. People get braces, get lasik surgery, get moles removed, etc. I don’t see this as any different. Some people are just beard people, and having an “almost beard” for those people is a real deal killer.

    7. I’m 20 now and have pretty bear cheeks and my chin is sparse too. It’s slowly starting to fill in (I should eat better. Taking biotin though.). But if it’s still not good enough by the time i’m 25 I’ll might consider it (Though a dutch news site mentioned last year that scientists were able to grow completely new follicles on mice and they would probably be able to start testing on humans in 5 years).

    8. What I don’t think a lot of you are thinking about or are understanding is that not being able to grow a full beard does make a lot of men insecure, if not downright frustrated. I never knew about beard transplants, and I don’t think it’s a bad idea to have one. One poster here mentioned that the end result was that someone looked like they had acne after the procedure. That is not true. It’s just blood scabs which falls off in about a week or so. It’s easier for some people to prejudge since they can grow a full beard. It’s a guy thing: you want some facial hair, and if a beard transplant can do that, then why not? Small incisions are made in the face, the follicle is implanted and the hair grows from there. I am seeing a lot of people growing full beards genetically, but many guys just can’t. If you had the chance to have a hair transplant to prevent yourself from going bald, would you opt for not doing it and having a cue ball for a head? Think outside of the box and try to understand what the other guys with sparse facial hair go through.

    9. Helena Von Shpank says:

      I would gladly GIVE my beard to someone! I am a drag queen and my 5 O’clock shadow is my own worst enemy! Hair grows anywhere and everywhere on my face, it’s terrible.

      • Poor fellow! Sadly, beard donations wouldn’t work. If you donated your beard to a man, and he had it transplanted to his face, his body would likely see it as a foreign contaminant, and attack it with white blood cells.

        Only follicles from a man’s own body can be transplanted to his face.

    10. When you get a beard transplant. Can one shave it and still grow it back? Or once you shaved it that’s it the hair won’t grow back unless you pay again for a transplant. I want to consider getting a beard transplant to cover some small patches over my cheeks but of course there are going to be some days where I don’t want to have a beard and have a clean face. ( :

    11. Thomas Hayes says:

      I have geeat facial hair lineage. But my chin has a bald patch in the middle and I have a bald spot under my nose for the moustache. I want a beard so bad but can not get it right. Is there anything other than this surgery that could help? Or recommended? Im 20 by the way.

      • I also have a good facial lineage, but have a lot of spots that haven’t come in yet. my chin started at 19, but is still horrible (i’m 21 now). the only thing you can do is take supplements, eat healthy, exercise and reduce stress. Or you could use things with minoxidil in it, but i prefer to not use unnatural things, because of side effects. the most important thing for you (and me) is to wait. If you don’t see much progress by age 25 you might want to ask a doctor or something and do hair transplants. Also it might be a good idea to ask your family members with great facial hair when the full beard came in for them (i sadly cant do that, because the only people in my family who had great beards are dead and my dad doesn’t remember).

      • You can try using a minoxidil treatment. Read my How to Fix a Patchy Beard.

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